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February 25, 2015

OUSD Offers Largest Salary Increase in Decade
 
OAKLAND, CA -- On Tuesday, February 24, Oakland Unified School District increased its salary offer to the Oakland Education Association to 10.5% over 18 months, with the potential for a total of 13.5% if additional funding is received for increased collaboration time and if OEA agrees to align its health benefits with most other District employees. The offer includes a re-opener in 2016-17 on compensation.
 
The district’s proposal included a summary of agreements on improvements in salaries and working conditions it has offered to date in response to OEA proposals. The district also emphasized two key proposals needed to empower school governance teams in the areas of teacher placement and school site decision making. Excerpts from this summary are included at the end of this bargaining update.
 
OUSD and OEA bargaining teams agree to use creative negotiations process moving forward
 
In a joint effort to accelerate ongoing constructive conversations designed to reach a settlement, OUSD and OEA agreed to modify the negotiations process in the following ways:
  • Intensify the bargaining schedule by adding consecutive days to the negotiations calendar
  • Move to a “what if…” bargaining approach
The intensified schedule and the new approach will position both sides to generate agreements that meet both OUSD and OEA priorities. The brainstorming approach to which both sides jointly committed at the next two and three day bargaining sessions will be focused on reaching mutually agreeable contractual solutions.

The engagement will not be characterized by the traditional exchange of written, proposals of record, but instead will consist of non-binding discussions that will allow both parties to explore “what if” scenarios in response to each others’ priorities and concerns. Under this approach, neither party is moving off its current proposals; current positions are preserved unless and until both parties mutually agree to commit an idea on which each side has been working to paper. Either side may also elect to continue to put forward counter proposals on specific articles.

The bargaining session was concluded with appreciative and optimistic recognition that both sides are continuing to move forward with this process in a constructive and creative way.
 
Excerpts from OUSD Proposal of February 24:
 
After careful consideration of, and consultation with the Board and Superintendent regarding OEA’s Package Settlement Proposal of February 10, 2015, which according to its terms “must be accepted in its entirety for it to be considered an agreement."
 
The District must respectfully reject such proposal. In response, the District resubmits its own Package Settlement Proposal of January 27, 2015 except as provided in the attached increased salary proposal. This response is based on the following reasons:
 
The District’s Package Proposal includes an historic compensation offer that would bring teachers the largest salary increase in decades – now 10.5% over 18 months, with the potential for a total of 13.5% if additional funding is received for increased collaboration time and if OEA agrees to align its health benefits with most other District employees.
 
The District has also proposed to enable either party to reopen negotiations over further potential salary increases for the 2016-2017 school year. In addition, the District has offered:
  • Increased salaries for beginning teachers
  • Two years of salary schedule credit for each year of service at Intensive Support Schools
  • Lower class sizes in grades TK-3 to meet State prescribed maximum years before the legal deadline
  • For the first time, cash payments to general education teachers whose class sizes or daily contacts exceed contractual limits
  • Additional stipends, release time, and guaranteed budgets for supplies, etc. for certain specialized positions
  • Dental and vision benefits for specified substitutes
  • A strengthened commitment to use caseload/class size guidelines in Special Education programs 
These proposals address many if not most of OEA’s priorities and goals in these negotiations.
 
In turn, the District’s priority is on ensuring each child’s access to quality school options in their neighborhood by providing all schools the best chance for success. This effort includes District proposals to strengthen the leadership of school governance teams by empowering them in two key areas:
  • Hiring decisions on teachers and staff being made at the school level with principals making decisions on all hires acting upon the recommendations of a newly established school personnel committee made up mostly of teachers (Article 12).
  • A process to ensure that schools with the greatest need for improvement have more decision making authority which they can leverage to provide additional instructional time, collaboration opportunities for teachers, and make other programmatic decisions in their schools. This would also include a process for higher performing schools to pursue the same, increased decision making opportunities (Article 27).
The District’s proposals are not an attack on teachers. The proposals do not assume the need to protect against falsely stereotyped “bad teachers.” To the contrary, the District’s proposals reject the notion that teachers are interchangeable cogs in the educational machine; rather, we recognize every teacher brings to the classroom his or her unique gifts, talents and abilities.
 
The District’s proposals reflect a core belief that every possible effort should be made to create and nurture structures designed to best match these unique qualities to particular school communities and learning environments, in the best interests of the students they serve.
 
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 2015 Oakland Unified School District | "Every Student Thrives!"
 
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Last Modified on February 25, 2015